stumptown-birkbeiner

It's a rare day when you can stage a ski race in downtown Portland.

The City of Portland's amusing inability to deal with a little snow can be a very good thing for urban skiers.

It doesn't happen often, but when it does snow in Portland conditions can be perfect for kicking, gliding, skating and poling from the top of Mount Tabor to the Pearl District and many points in between. The lack of road salt causes traffic to pack down the snow into perfect hard pack - at least until the sand trucks come and the inevitably rising temps muck things back up again.

"If you time it right, you can just rip it all over town," says Winston Goodbody, a 46-year-old Nordic and backcountry skier who once spent five months skiing 600 miles across Greater Yellowstone.

Goodbody is the organizer behind the 2nd Invitational Stumptown Birkebeiner, an informal urban ski race and parade that came together Friday morning in Portland.

Back in 2008 Goodbody and some Portland friends celebrated a city snowstorm with a lively ski through the Pearl District and up into the hills of Northwest Portland, and they had so much fun that they decided to set up a standing deal that any time it snows in town they will meet at Powell's Books and stage a race through the Pearl District.

That rare snowy day in Portland finally arrived Friday, and Goodbody led the way in a hot pink Lycra suit as a couple dozen skiers, an enormous dog, one snowshoer and a lone snowboarder in need of a snowmobile kicked off the Stumptown Birkbeiner through the Pearl District.

Here's a photo of Goodbody kicking his hot pink suit and chatting with a friend before the race:

Here are some brightly dressed participants hanging out in front of Powell's Books:

 Here's the start:

Here's the lone snowboarder trying to catch up:

Here's Seth Goldsmith and his Giant Malamute Star:


And here's Win skating up NW Johnson a dozen blocks later:

That Friday race was followed by a second race Saturday with even better conditions, as well as a night ski to a reading at the Pearl District Patagonia store by Porter Fox, the author of Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow. Keep your eye on the Portland Birkie website for details on past and future races, and shred that sweet Portland snow when you get it, because it never lasts for long.

Related Articles